Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 214–221 | Cite as

The treatment of Jenni L.: A case of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Theresa M. Reilly


The symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is a dramatic statement of the adolescent's need for an internal structure to regulate her sense of self. She was unable to develop this structure during infancy due to the need for the infant to meet her mother's narcissistic needs. Therefore, the infant was not able to internalize the mirroring function (of the mother) which would have allowed her to acquire her own empathetic structure to regulate her self worth. Consequently, empathy must be utilized in the treatment relationship to facilitate the formation of a compensatory structure of the self which will, in turn, promote recovery from Anorexia.


Social Psychology Internal Structure Anorexia Nervosa Mirror Function Compensatory Structure 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theresa M. Reilly
    • 1
  1. 1.Dover

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